The big news today is, of course, the fact that Randy Lerner is selling Aston Villa. Buried in all of the reporting on that, though, is the fate of manager Paul Lambert. After yesterday's dreadful 3-0 loss to Tottenham, a match in which Aston Villa never really showed up, there was plenty of speculation that not even a lenient ownership group could keep Lambert around.
But today's statement makes me think that Lambert will be around at lest until new owners are found, and depending on that timeline I think he's likely to see out his contract. Towards the end of his statement, Lerner addressed what would happen at the club while we're all waiting for it to be sold:
On a practical level, the Club will continue with its normal operations and plans for the summer. I've no doubt that the core staff at both Villa Park and Bodmoor Heath, to whom I owe a massive debt of friendship and loyalty, will continue to guide and protect the Club through this period of transition according to their collective sense of professional pride and long term service to Villa
Paul Lambert is certainly a part of the core staff, and if "normal operations and plans for the summer" are to continue the club absolutely need a manager. Plus there is the additional angle of not wanting to make any major changes before new owners are brought in. If he is sacked, there will certainly be some compensation due to Lambert. If Lerner were to hire a new manager and the new owners did not want that person, they'd have to double down on the compensation payments. At least with Lambert in his position, the new owners will know what they are getting.
And if the sale takes more than a couple of weeks, it seems awfully likely that Lambert will be allowed to see out the final year of his contract. There will be enough turmoil at the club that it would be unwise to switch managers if we're too close to the season.
Lerner's statement definitely marked a huge change at Aston Villa, but in one key aspect it may have signaled more of the same. Let's see what Paul can do in this crazy summer.